Two weeks ago I took my 31st flight of the year. This time I was heading to Albufeira with my mammy and an plane full of other Irish souls seeking some heat and sunshine.
So many hotels, where to stay?
The hotel we stayed in is called Aqua Pedra dos Bicos. A beautiful, newly decorated hotel in the new town of Albufeira. It is an adult-only hotel, making it perfect for couples or groups of friends looking for a relaxed and chilled out weekend. The hotel is a 40 minute walk to the old town of Albufeira or you can opt for an €8-10 taxi or a tuk-tuk.
Most hotels in this area are a short walk to a beach, where you can choose to sunbath, swim in the gorgeous sea or, if you’re a ginger snowflake like me, sit in the shade and read a book. For this holiday, I was reading Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.
When it came to filling our bellies, we did not shy away from good food.
If you’re a fish lover, I highly recommend dining in A Taberna do Pescador in the old town of Albufeira. The fish is fresh and seasoned impressively. I praise the golden bream and suggest that you enjoy it alongside a white sangria.
If you fancy some fine dining while you’re on holiday in the Algarve, may I suggest Restaurant Dom Carlos. Located in the old town, this is a dining experience loved by many. The five course dining experience can be enjoyed for €40. Reservation is recommended.
If you choose to book a stay in Albufeira under my recommendation and decide to stay in Aqua Pedra dos Bicos, I strongly suggest that you have dinner in the hotel’s restaurant at least once. The menu is superb and prides itself on creating dishes based on traditional Portuguese ingredients including prawns, carob, almond and orange. The selection of wine on the menu is equally as impressive and the dips served alongside the bread are second to none. 10/10 would visit this restaurant again.
The Algrave is a hive of activity!
Day 1 – Friday
We dropped our luggage in the room, admired the balcony view, got excited about the Rituals toiletries in the bathroom and headed out in search of some lunch. Two toasted sandwiches later and we went for a stroll to familiarise ourselves with our surroundings, stopping off at one of the many beaches along the way.
An early dinner was in order, having been on the go from very early that morning. We took off walking to the old town of Albufeira and enjoyed delicious fresh fish in A Taberna do Pescador. The old town is buzzing every evening and we went for a walk around the shops, stopping for gelato along the way.
Day 2 – Saturday
Wakening up to the sunshine is amazing but if you’re ginger, like me, spending the day in the sun can be difficult and dangerous. We decided to seek shelter during the hottest part of the day and took a €13 Uber to Algarve Shopping, a large, semi-covered shopping centre with many highstreet stores, including Bershka, Zara, Stradivarius and lot more.
Day 3 – Sunday
We originally tried to book a cave tour for this day but it was fully booked until Tuesday when we’d be gone home (I have done a cave tour of the Algarve before and I would highly recommend it for the scenery, the fun and the pleasure of sailing). Time for plan B. Spend an hour chilling by the pool, reading and eating ice lollies, boarded the bus to FARO, alighting in Vilamoura. Vilamoura is known for its marina which is surrounded by a long strip of restaurants and shops and a beach nearby. This was the day of the All-Ireland Hurling Final and I can confirm that there are at least three Irish pubs in Vilamoura.
A note on the public transport in Albufeira and surrounding area: it’s not very tourist-friendly. In Dublin I’ve been spoilt with real-time screens, the 46A every 20 minutes (or less) and timetables and bus routes illustrated at bus stops and online. In Albufeira, you simply stand at a bus shelter and wait. There are no timetables or bus routes shown. On a Sunday, the bus in question was running EVERY 2 HOURS, which is why I suggest speaking to your hotel to ensure you don’t waste half the day waiting. From Albufeira to Vilamoura, the bus fare was €4.60 and took approx. 45 minutes.
Day 4 – Monday
We took it very easy on our last day. After enjoying a long and relaxed breakfast, we packed our bags and headed for the beach. After taking the scenic route (not getting lost) we found a shaded area where we perched for three or four hours. The beaches of the Algarve have soft white sand and beautiful cool (but not cold) water.
If you’d like to know more about my trip to Albufeira, please feel free to pop me a message via the contact page.